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Iran pauses talks with U.S. on Iraq security

As U.S. strikes on Shiite armed fighters in Baghdad have widened, Iran has suspended talks with the United States on Iraqi security, citing the continued offensive as the reason, the Iranian Foreign Ministry said Monday.

American forces were responding to fire from Shiite militias in the Amel neighborhood in western Baghdad. In eastern Baghdad, they hammered New Baghdad during the day and the Shiite ghetto of Sadr City Monday night.

"We are witnessing indiscriminate bombardment of Iraqi residential areas by the U.S. occupying forces," said Mohammad Ali Hosseini, spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, according to IRNA, the official Iranian news agency.

The Americans believe Iran is supplying weapons and training to Shiite militias in Iraq; Iran denies that. It remains uncertain whether weapons found in Iraq that appear to be Iranian came from Iran or through third parties.

The Iraqis are forming a committee with experts from the ministries of interior and defense to look into allegations against Iran.

American and Iraqi military attacks on Shiite neighborhoods where militias are active included a fierce midnight battle in the Amel neighborhood Sunday, after which the U.S. military gave a sharply different account of what happened than Iraqis and the Interior Ministry did.

According to an Interior Ministry official and neighbors, at least four civilians were killed and as many as 82 wounded. The Americans said three militiamen were killed and two civilians were injured and evacuated to a combat support hospital.

Iran pauses talks with U.S. on Iraq security 05/05/08 [Last modified: Thursday, October 28, 2010 1:38pm]
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